Six Months Later…

We’ve Done It!

Portal

“But it doesn’t go anywhere!” “Not exactly, Minerva. Unless I’m very much mistaken, it goes everywhere”

As Harry Dean Stanton said, “the life of a repo man is always intense”* and the last six months have certainly been intense for Infinite Crypt. The challenge of making and distributing a new product is not to be underestimated. Particularly when you have a another job as well!

Nonetheless, thanks to incredible support from family and friends, we’ve done it! Our Kickstarter responsibilities have been fulfilled and we’ve set up Bill & Ted, our lasers, in a new workshop in Portland Works, one of the coolest, most historically significant industrial spaces in England.

We’ve bought two laser cutters, designed 53 types of Infinite Crypt element, produced more than 6000 individual elements, made 90 pigeonholes to help with handling and packing, spent over £1200 on postage & packing, and sent Infinite Crypt elements to 15 countries, as far West as California and as far East as Japan.

We’ve learned an incredible amount. Things that neither I, nor the Infinite Crypt production gnomes knew enough about when this started include:

  • Fume Extraction, Venting & Chimneys
  • Mass Production
  • Packing & Fulfilment
  • Online Payment Mechanisms
  • Web Shops

I probably still don’t know enough about these things – but now at least we’ve mapped the territory. The main insight that comes out of this is that different issues emerge at different scales. Something that’s a non-issue for one, or six, or even sixteen items (how long does it take to unpick the end of a roll of tape?) becomes a major issue when you’re repeating a process six thousand times.

What’s The Result?

Frankly, we’ve been blown away by the generous responses from our backers! The @InfiniteCrypt Twitter stream has started to become populated by pictures of Infinite Crypt builds, and now, the elements in action. We’ve also had some insightful and quotable comments:

“What fun I’ve had assembling a few elements every night the past few days! Finely engineered little puzzles! High quality and great fit… I will order more once the store goes online. Thank you for one of my best KS experiences yet!” ~ Arzach, May 29th

“Loving this. I’ve had hours of fun building bits. Thanks for the extras too. Putting the bits together I’ve had ideas for two further elements” ~ Les Fulbrook, April 27th

A key question for us was whether to delay the mailout, and write comprehensive instructions for each element, or whether to provide general instructions that suggest the correct approach to figure out each element yourself. (Plus the offer of online advice, of course!) We opted for the “don’t delay” option, and feedback seems to suggest we got this right:

“I received my pieces last week, and I’m very happy with them. I’ve been building them a bit at a time each night with my 10 and 7 year old… as we are putting them together, it’s actually more fun to figure out how they fit together than to follow instructions. Thanks for the great product!” ~ Ben Gatien, May 5th

The puzzle-like quality which we wanted to build into Infinite Crypt seems to add to the value! Everyone seems to have made it work, and had fun in the process!

So What’s Next?

We always said that our Kickstarter would be the springboard to making Infinite Crypt elements more widely available. And, “Lo!”, it has come to pass.

We’ve been beavering away, setting up an online shop, and we reckon that this post is the lowest key possible soft launch. (Did you miss that?) Of course, we’ll be making it more prominent and shouting about it more very soon.

Now we’re thinking hard about new elements. We’ve kept the element cost as low as possible, but we’d like to work out how to resource design time for new elements. While a popular element (like a corner or a wall section) will pay for its own design over time, specialist elements add character, but you’ll only want one or two of them in any one dungeon. We want to make sure that our income model encourages us to develop a wide range of elements, not just concentrate on the most popular designs.

We’ve even thought about subscription – but that brings up more complexities. Wait a moment… doesn’t this suggest that maybe we should do… a Kickstarter campaign?


* Bud, Repo Man (Alex Cox, 1984)

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About James Wallbank

Designer, Maker, Artist, Educator. RPG player & GM since the '70s!
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